(MEMPHIS, Tenn. – January 31, 2024) After an overturned conviction in December 2023, all charges have been dismissed against Tennessee Innocence Project (TIP) client Artis Whitehead. Whitehead is the sixth state-wide exoneration and the first Memphis exoneration for TIP.

“We are grateful that the Shelby County District Attorney’s office reviewed the facts of this case and elected to dismiss the charges giving Mr. Whitehead a second chance,” said Tennessee Innocence Project Executive Director and Lead Counsel Jessica Van Dyke. “TIP has been working on this case for the last four years because we believed in Mr. Whitehead’s innocence, and we appreciate the DA’s Office’s diligent investigation and attention to detail. They got to the bottom of this case and ensured that justice was served appropriately for Mr. Whitehead and his family.”

Mr. Whitehead was arrested on January 31, 2003. His exoneration comes 21 years from the exact day he was arrested in 2003. He served almost 21 years after being wrongfully convicted for a 2002 robbery at B.B. King’s Blues Club on Beale Street.

In November 2003, a Shelby County jury convicted Whitehead of five counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of especially aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of attempted robbery. The trial court sentenced Whitehead to consecutive sentences totaling 249 years.

In a recent hearing, Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Jennifer Fitzgerald issued a 93-page written order vacating Whitehead’s conviction. The judge found that Whitehead was entitled to relief on multiple legal grounds. He was released from prison in December 2023.

A GoFundMe campaign has been started for Mr. Whitehead to purchase a used vehicle and support his re-entry: https://gofund.me/87218131

To learn more about the Tennessee Innocence Project and Artis Whitehead, visit www.tninnocence.org.

About the Tennessee Innocence Project:

Launched in February 2019 as the first full-time innocence organization in the state, the Tennessee Innocence Project (TIP) is a non-profit law firm working to free wrongfully convicted Tennesseans. To date, more than 3,200 people have lost more than 25,000 years due to wrongful convictions across the United States. TIP has three primary focus areas: 1) investigating and litigating wrongful conviction cases for those in Tennessee prisons to obtain exonerations, 2) training law students and attorneys about how to litigate these cases and how to prevent future wrongful convictions, and 3) bringing about changes that lead to the discovery of wrongful convictions and remedies to the wrongfully convicted. To learn more, visit www.tninnocence.org.

For more information or if you would like to interview someone from the Tennessee Innocence Project, contact Jennifer Sharp, The Carter Malone Group LLC, at 901.278.0881 or jsharp@cmgpr.com.